Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) is celebrating 21 years of providing animal-assisted therapy (AAT) services. ITA represents the human-animal bond in action! Animals can often motivate positive differences—everything from smiles and welcome distractions to substantial therapeutic breakthroughs—for those of all ages, in diverse settings, who are going through the toughest challenges of their lives.

Volunteers participate in therapy visits, training, and vital community education. ITA’s small staff recruits, screens, trains, and tests volunteers and their pets who then, as registered and insured pet partner teams, are placed in the best setting to maximize their particular skills and provide benefit. They serve in a whole spectrum of settings: hospitals, nursing homes, special education and residential treatment facilities, schools, libraries, psychiatric facilities, prisons, and detention centers. The high quality and effectiveness of their services have helped ITA become one of the largest organizations of their kind.

The presence of an animal in the therapeutic setting has been shown to motivate speech, movement, and exercise; reinforce learning; stimulate the senses; and facilitate counseling. Some of the greatest value of AAT may lie in its most basic but powerful physiological and emotional benefits: lowered blood pressure and respiratory rates, decreased loneliness, comfort, feelings of trust, safety, and self-esteem.

An animal can be a source of unconditional acceptance and love. These qualities have a powerful catalytic impact on people of all ages, and are especially effective with children who are struggling to heal. Pet-facilitated therapy is highly motivating, thus effective with people who often won’t interact well with others or respond to treatment; the animals are a means to reach goals in a non-threatening way.

To donate to Intermountain Therapy Animals, click here.